The Comptroller and Auditor General has, in its report, accused the civil aviation ministry and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) of ruling in favour of the Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) and against the interest of the government.
“The observations would indicate that whenever DIAL has raised an issue regarding revenue to accrue to it or expenditure to be debited to government, in contravention of the provisions of Operations, Maintenance and Development Agreement (OMDA), the ministry and AAI have always ruled in favour of the operators and against the interest of the government,” says the CAG report on the implementation of the Delhi airport project.
The ministry, while refuting the CAG findings in a release, said, “The views of Ministry of Civil Aviation and AAI have not been incorporated in the final report of the CAG and there are aspects mentioned in the final report which were neither included in the draft audit report nor were discussed with the Ministry of Civil Aviation at any point in time.”
Asked why the comments from the Civil Aviation Ministry were not incorporated in the report, Deputy CAG AK Patnaik said, “We cannot wait endlessly to finalise the report. We have our time bound schedule. We have to give it to the Parliament.”
The report makes these remarks on the basis of conflicts between OMDA and the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) Act in defining aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenue services, allowing the airport operator to charge development fee and diversion of funds from collected as public services fee for purchase of security equipment by DIAL.
The audit report has found that the definitions of aeronautical services in OMDA and the AERA Act differ substantially. Ground handling and Cargo handling Services are categorised as non-aeronautical services in OMDA whereas the AERA puts into aeronautical services.